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The Netherlands urged to strengthen human rights safeguards in its response to terrorism

In a letter addressed to the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Minister of Security and Justice of the Netherlands published today Commissioner Muižnieks raises concerns about the possible detrimental impact that three counter-terrorism Bills currently under discussion may have on the protection of human rights.

The Commissioner is particularly concerned that the Temporary Administrative Measures Bill, which restricts rights such as the freedom of movement, private and family life, is open to a wide interpretation and raises issues about the possibilities of persons to challenge measures taken against them.

He also stresses the need to ensure that the revocation of nationality under the amended Nationality Act be implemented in a way that it does not unduly affect religious or ethnic groups and social cohesion. He added that revocation decisions have to be accompanied by an effective remedy.

Lastly, the Commissioner urges caution in implementing the Intelligence Services Bill, in order to ensure that online surveillance is carried out in a targeted way and is subjected to a strong independent oversight at all stages, including in the gathering and storing of data.

Whilst the Commissioner acknowledges that terrorism is a real threat, he emphasizes that repressive measures alone are not the right answer: “Prevention is key. Governments have the duty to ensure that their responses to terrorism uphold human rights standards and are accompanied by systematic, inter-religious and cross-cultural dialogue fostering a cohesive society”.

Strasbourg 29/11/2016
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